COLUMBIA – The Missouri Supreme Court recognized the 13th Judicial Circuit of Missouri for its timeliness during juvenile hearings. There was a ceremony in the ceremonial courtroom of the Boone County Courthouse to recognize the circuit’s achievement.
Supreme Court Judge Paul C. Wilson presented the 2016 Permanency Award, which the court gave to the circuit because one hundred percent of its juvenile court hearings were on time.
“It recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of the judges here in Boone County and all the non-judicial staff in meeting the mandatory time standards that have been established for holding the juvenile hearings that move children through that process and to permanency,” Wilson said.
These court hearings deal with finding new permanent homes for juveniles who have been removed from an unsafe or inadequate home.
Wilson said timeliness is important in cases like these because children view time differently than adults.
“We all know that children do not experience time the way that adults do,” Wilson said.
He said when children are removed from the only home they know it is important for those trials to move through the system as quickly as possible.
“When a child must be removed from an unsafe or inadequate home environment, the child’s life literally hangs in the balance,” Wilson said. “Every child, whether he or she knows it or not, depends on the very best that each and every one of you can deliver each and every time."
Deputy Court Administrator Cindy Garrett said the people who work in the juvenile courts care most about the needs of the children that come through the courthouse. She said it is important that their needs are best met, they have appropriate representation, and their cases are heard.
There are several different types of hearings for juvenile cases, each with their own time standards.
“While there are six or eight different types of hearings that get held in one of those cases, we’ve established mandatory time standards for each of those hearings,” Wilson said.
Courts are required to comply with those time standards to the best of their abilities. Wilson said the 13th circuit fully met these requirements.
“They have met the mandatory time standards in 100 percent of the categories for 100 percent of the cases for the entire year of 2016,” Wilson said.
This was the ninth time the 13th circuit has received the Permanency Award.